As this year comes to a close, I pray that we will all reflect on how well we lived out our Lord’s expectations of us. For as He states in Mt. 10:38, “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.”

Jesus does not say, “Anyone who does not believe in Me is not worthy of Me.” No, instead of belief, He emphasizes action –carrying one’s cross and following after Him. We should also note His words, “…is not worthy of Me”, recognizing that we are being informed that there is a way to be worthy of Jesus and a way of not being worthy of Him, and that the deciding factor is our action, or lack of it.

Let’s look at the next verse, Mt. 10:39, if we aren’t yet persuaded that Jesus means that our behavior determines whether or not we are worthy of Him (of belonging to Him and inheriting Heaven). He says there, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

It cannot be denied then: No one who keeps sinning is following Jesus while he or she is sinning. No one who keeps sinning is carrying his cross or losing his life for Christ’s sake. Instead, those who continue to sin are holding on to their life, their own self-rulership, their own desires, their own path. In trying hard to find their life (their prosperity and the fulfillment of their dreams), they will lose their life in the long run. They will lose their inheritance of Eternal Life. They will lose their soul.

In Luke’s account Christ’s meaning is very clear: Those who claim to belong to the Lord must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23), losing their lives for Christ so as to not forfeit, for eternity, one’s very self. (v. 24,25)

So, have we conducted ourselves throughout 2018 in a manner worthy of Jesus? If not, He who does not show favoritism (Rom. 2:11), may say something like this: “You did not deny yourself, you did not carry your cross, and you did not follow Me. You told others you were doing so, but I saw what you did every day, I heard your words and your thoughts, and I read your heart. Nine times out of ten, you were concerned about satisfying yourself, not about pleasing Me. You threw Me crumbs, and you knew you were doing so, though I am the Eternal King, the Judge, the Almighty God. You also often used others for your own advancement. Truly, in trying to find your life, you are losing it. Repent! Why should you perish? Deny yourself fully, obey Me at all times, and follow Me with all your heart. Only then, will you find Life.”

We definitely want Life. So let’s decide that in this new year the Lord will find us always doing what it takes to be found worthy of Him.

with love,

The Storms

September 15, 2018

Besides the typhoon that has passed through the Philippines, a country very dear to me, and besides the storm drenching the lower east coast of our U.S., there are at least two other “storms” that I am praying much about. One is that storm between conservatives and leftists here in the U.S. which has resulted from the extreme hatred blinding the latter who continue to vehemontly obstruct the efforts of the former. Today I listened to a strong and excellent speech Ted Cruz gave earlier this month in regards to this, found here:

Another video and speech I watched today was that given by Amir at Behold Israel. For anyone interested in how the events in the Middle East keep lining up with Bible prophecy, Amir, an Israeli citizen, is highly informative. I have watched him often over the last year or more and the video he posted two days ago is something I hope everyone listens to closely. Here is the link for that:

The battle between righteousness and evil is huge and escalating. Ideologies and nations are lining up in the positions God’s Word has prophesied about. But, will we ourselves be found alert, walking in the Truth, bearing the fruit of righteousness… and ready?

with love,

Last week when I was witnessing downtown –from the train station area and up to the restaurant area and back– I had quite a few dramatic encounters. I won’t go into them, except to mention one that was with a man in leotards and tight shirt, midriff showing, bandana over his hair, and with the claim that he is a “prophet”. He gave me his name, a Bible name, and he stressed the importance of names… but I’ll call him David here.

I listened patiently to David, lovingly caring about him through the Holy Spirit, for at least 25 minutes, hardly getting a word in myself, as he spoke of the political moral climate and quoted a lot of Scripture verses. I certainly try not to judge people by first impressions, but besides his prostitute appearance, he used a lot of foul language. These suggested to me that he is not actually walking with the Lord. However, understanding that I didn’t know his story, and respecting him for having memorized Scripture at some point in his life, I only called him out on his use of swear words. He gave some convoluted justification, but I stuck with my assertion, quoting Eph. 4:29, from which he did seem to feel some slight conviction.

I relay this encounter because I believe a person’s words reveal a lot about the heart of that person. James, in chapter 3 when discussing the human tongue (words), asks how it is that a person can, out of the same mouth (heart), gush out praise for God as well as cursing toward others. (v. 9-12) It is inconsistent and it thus reveals that the source (the heart) is actually contaminated (v. 8,11,12), and if not allowed to be cleansed and kept cleansed by Christ, will corrupt the whole person and eventually destroy that person. (v. 6)

Jesus Himself confirms for us that “the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’.” (Mt. 15:18) In other words, sins lurking in the heart will reveal themselves through one’s words, proving that person remains impure. (v. 18-20) Since just a few statements before this Jesus says, “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (v. 14b), shouldn’t we recognize that He is teaching us to not adhere to those guides or “prophets” whose speech is not clean, even if they claim to be servants of Christ? As Jesus says in the same verse, “Leave them; they are blind guides.” (v. 14a)

I felt, and still feel, concern for David and I realize there has to be a good reason why he can quote Scripture and why he has faith in the Word of God. Whoever taught him must have been concerned for his soul, and certainly God is still concerned. The Lord wants him cleansed and able to use His Word appropriately, accurately, and for the furtherance of the Truth and God’s glory.

Here is the part of Eph. 4:29 that I quoted to David: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” This command is quite comprehensive. Unwholesome talk covers a lot –from swear words to slander to false testimony to malicious words to mockery… The rest of the verse validates this by adding that our talk should instead consist of “only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Of course this doesn’t mean we shy away from speaking truth, for verse 15 has already pointed out that we are to be “speaking the truth in love”, but, our words must be clean and wholesome.

Eph. 4:30 goes on: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…” Since this warning follows right after verse 29 –the verse I brought up to David– we should see the connection –that unwholesome talk grieves the Holy Spirit. Without question, engaging in unwholesome talk is not sowing to please the Spirit which leads to eternal life, but is instead sowing the opposite. (Gal. 6:8) Unwholesome talk is not a fruit of the Spirit but instead of the sinful nature (5:16-26)

Eph. 4:31 tells us to get rid of such sins as bitterness, rage, and slander, while Col. 3:8 also commands us to rid ourselves of these, as well as of obscene language. As Jesus warns, “…everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for very careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt. 12:36,37) And what does Jesus say immediately prior to this, in verse 35? He says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Jesus is saying that those who speak evil things have a storehouse of evil within them!

How can anyone, then, take unwholesome talk lightly? –Especially from anyone who claims to be walking with, serving, or speaking on behalf of God?

with love,

Chapter four of Ephesians begins with the admonition that we live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called. (v. 1) Verse two reveals some of the characteristics/actions we are to have/show in order to do so –being completely humble, gentle, patient, and loving. We are to recognize that Christ Jesus, through His grace, has distributed to each one of us certain gifts for the building up of His body (Eph. 4:7,11,12; also 1 Cor. 12:4-14,27) so that we all reach maturity and fullness in Christ. (Eph. 4:13) We are expected to be “full of goodness” (Rom. 15:14) and “complete in knowledge” (same verse), that we may be “competent to instruct one another” (same verse) and discerning of “how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Heb. 10:24)

This is the new way of Life, the result of the new self we have put on. The “old self with its practices” (Col. 3:9) has been discarded. (Same verse) If we are truly in Christ, He circumcised off of us the sinful nature. (2:11) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17) “We have been buried with him through baptism into death –death to sin by the old self being crucified– so that we may live a new life.” (See Rom. 6:1-7 and Col. 2:12,13) Indeed, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24) “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (v. 16) And “if the Spirit of God and Christ lives in you, you will be controlled by the Holy Spirit; you will not be controlled by the sinful nature.” (See Rom. 8:9) Don’t let anyone fool you: The latter leads to eternal destruction, the former leads to eternal life. (Rom. 6:16-23 & 8:13,14 // Gal. 6:7,8)

So, the old self followed the “former way of life” (Eph. 4:22) and it was “being corrupted by its deceitful desires” (same verse), but the new self has a new attitude (v. 23) and is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (v. 24) Therefore, let us “put on the new self” (same verse) every day “that we may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way [–that is, by] bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Col. 1:10)

Do we understand The Truth? Do we recognize that most people are teaching a falsehood when they say we can live as we please if we have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us? Rest assured: “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8) Consequently, those who are not “bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God” (see Col. 1:10 again) are not wearing the new self (Eph. 4:24), are not clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14), are not conformed to His image (8:29), have not offered their bodies as living sacrifices pleasing to God (12:1), and are not going to inherit Christ’s Kingdom. (Eph. 5:19-21; see also Rev. 3:14-16)

“What counts is a new creation.” (Gal. 6:15) This newness, this clean self, must permeate the heart, the mind, the attitude, the words, the deeds –everything– of that new creation. Then, and only then, is a person pleasing to God, saved, and worthy of the calling of belonging to the Lord. (John 15:10 // Eph. 4:1 & 5:3-17 // Col. 1:10 // 1 John 2:3-6)

with love,

It is common to hear that Christians are saved by grace and that, therefore, we are not saved by works. Eph. 2:8,9 seem to be most often quoted, though they leave out verse 10 which reveals we are ordained to do good works –a verse that implies that if we don’t, we are in rebellion.

Rom. 4:1-5 is also often pointed out about Abraham being justified, not by works, but by believing God. However, the context is left out, for a few verses prior, in Rom. 3:27-31, and really the theme of chapters 2, 3, and 4, show that the works being spoken about are the works of the Jewish law. What Paul is pointing out is that Abraham was found righteous in God’s eyes because of his faith in God’s instructions and promises to him, not by adhering to a law which had not even been given yet. James 2:20-24 makes this point also, stating that this faith Abraham possessed resulted in actions, for it says Abraham was “considered righteous for what he did…” (v. 21) –actions which came as a result of believing God (v. 23,24)– for “his faith was made complete by what he did.” (v. 22)

Thus we see that God’s Word teaches that it is true living faith –the faith that causes obedience– that is credited to us as righteousness. This is what is repeated several times in Romans chapter four and what is stated in the first paragraph of the book –that it is a message concerning “the obedience that comes from faith.” (Rom. 1:5) Scripture does not teach that Christ’s righteousness covers the person continuing in sin (disobedience –Eph. 5:6 / lawlessness –1 John 3:4 / rebellion –Heb. 3:7-15), but rather teaches that our faith (which equates to trust and eager obedience) is what makes us righteous in God’s eyes. Yes, it is God’s grace that has given (faith-filled) people the gift of righteousness, which is what Rom. 5:17 reveals, but this same verse reveals that this gift of righteousness (actual righteous conduct –see 1 John 3:7, not a claim –Titus 1:16) is what is to reign in our lives. As Rom. 8:4 says, the righteous requirements of the law (God’s moral law –1 Cor. 7:19 / Christ’s law –1 Cor. 9:21, preformed through the law of the Spirit –Rom. 8:9 & 7:6) are expected to be fully met in us. (See also John 15:10)

It is true that 2 Cor. 5:21 teaches “that in Him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God”, but this is available only for those of whom verse 15 speaks of –those who are living “no longer for themselves but for Him who died for them”, and those of whom verse 17 is true: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old [creature and lifestyle] has gone, the new has come!” These expectations being of the True Doctrine, and so that we do not “receive God’s grace in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1), we are to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Cor. 7:1)

As Rom. 8:13 teaches, we ourselves are to eliminate sin from ourselves using the power of the Spirit we’ve been given (given because of God’s grace), thereby walking in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the desires of the sinful nature. (Gal. 5:16) Indeed, God’s grace has been poured out that we might live pleasing to Him, not so that we can sin safely with Christ’s righteousness supposedly covering us and hiding us from the eyes of the omniscient God! Definitely, no matter what sinning “Christians” claim, the Truth teaches that “those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8)

Rom. 4:6-8 may likely also be mentioned by those who think faith does not include works, but Paul, in quoting David’s words in Ps. 32:1,2 is making a point about God’s forgiveness toward those who have faith apart from circumcision / Jewish law. Again, this is the theme throughout the context of chapter 4, as well as of chapters 2 and 3. If we go to Ps. 32, verse 2 finishes with, “and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Assumedly Paul did not quote this last phrase of David’s because he was stressing a slightly different point –the point that God pardons anyone having living faith, including non-Jews. Paul was not negating the need for repentance and obedience to God. Indeed, if we look at verses 3-5 of Ps. 32, we can see that David writes that it was only when he acknowledged and confessed his sin to the Lord, that the Lord forgave his guilt (v. 5), and that until he relinquished his sin, God’s hand was heavy upon him and he was under great duress. (v. 3,4) It is important that we interpret Scripture with Scripture when determining what the true doctrine of Christ is.

Some people may bring into the discussion Isa. ch. 53 which tells us that Jesus bore our sins by His death, and which ends with, “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (v. 12) Yes, this atoning sacrifice was not a reward for anything good we humans had done, but was instead God’s gift to all mankind, undeserving though we all are. This truly is grace, making it true that this gracious gift of salvation has not been granted because of our works.

However, it is also true that we must believe in this Gift, we must receive it, and once we receive it, we must submit to, follow, and obey the Giver, who is, we must recognize, The King, The Lord Almighty, the Ruler and Boss of all, and the Rightful Master of our individual lives. It must be taught how this is done, for it is done by renouncing and turning from all sin. As Isa. 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him, and [let him turn] to our God, for He will freely pardon.” Scripture does not teach that God’s grace and His gift of righteousness is given to the person who refuses to forsake sin.

So, to think that the Gift of grace, forgiveness, pardon, righteousness, and salvation is for those who believe in Jesus –well, this is not the entire Truth, for “even the demons believe and shudder.” (Ja. 2:19) Really, truth is not truth if some of it is left out, or if something is added to it, for then it is only partial truth. Jesus and John the Baptist and the apostles and the prophets continually stated that there must be repentance, a forsaking of sin, a life producing “fruit in accordance with repentance.” (Mt. 3:8) As Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3) And as Mt. 3:10 warns, “Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Clear confirmation of this is found in Gal. 6:8 –that those who sow to please the sinful nature will reap for themselves destruction as opposed to those who sow to please the Spirit which results in eternal life. Thus those who teach that Christ-followers (Christians) are safe to sin are deceiving themselves and others and making a mockery of God’s Word. (v. 7)

Repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation, as is continued obedience. Moreover, repentance cannot be considered a one-time prayer of acknowledgment of sin but is instead a change of mind, heart, conduct, and spirit. It is a forsaking of sin by letting Christ take it out of us (1 John 3:5) and give us His own divine, sin-free nature (v. 9) which compels us to do what is right. (v. 10) Thus salvation is given to the new creation who keeps on faithfully following Christ by obeying Him.

The Gift of Grace is not the only necessity for salvation, then, is it? No, instead, as Titus 2:11-14 teaches, it is God’s grace that has been given to the world so that those of us who choose to apply it can be redeemed from all wickedness and can walk in pureness, good works, self-discipline, godliness, freedom from the darkness, and eternal life. Those who choose to walk on this holy path consisting of holy conduct (1 Pe. 1:15) are them who can rest in the hope of that further grace which is to be given when Jesus returns (v. 13b) and when God “judges each person’s work impartially.” (v. 17)

We are saved by God’s grace, then, aren’t we? For without it we could not be saved. However, refusing to walk in obedience to God when His grace has given us new life and the power to do so (2 Pe. 1:3,4), is a refusal to apply His grace to ourselves. This refusal would be to “receive God’s grace in vain.” (2 Cor. 6:1)

with love,

We Must Be Doing What Is Right

September 30, 2017

Do we do what is right? How often? All the time? Most of the time? Okay, it’s often hard to evaluate ourselves objectively, so let’s ask, “Do others see me doing right, and how often? Would they consider me to be a righteous-acting person or a sinful-acting person?” I’m adding the word “acting” to the words “righteous” and “sinful” because these two latter words should be opposites to us since God’s Word reveals them to be opposites.

Let’s make no mistake about it: Scripture tells us that righteous people are not those who claim to be righteous in God’s eyes or who claim, “I have had Christ’s righteousness imputed to me”, but are instead those who are righteous-acting –those whose actions, thoughts, and words are righteous in God’s sight. Contrary to popular opinion, this is the Truth taught throughout the Word of God, just as 1 John 3:7b confirms: “He [the person] who does what is right is righteous, just as He [Christ Jesus] is righteous.” And the first part of the verse gives the warning, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” Let’s take serious note: False doctrine is anticipated on this issue, warned about, and warned about to the children of God.

In case we still cannot see ourselves clearly enough to evaluate ourselves in this area, let’s then ask it of others we know: “Does that person generally do what is right, or generally do what is wrong?” 1 John 3:10 says, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” Or, “Anyone not practicing righteousness is not of God.” I’m not advocating going around judging people, but I am advocating that we discern, and particularly that we discern our own selves, our own actions, our own righteousness or unrighteousness before God. I meet people often, especially while evangelizing, who think they are fine in God’s eyes, even while they continue to buy and/or sell drugs, hire prostitutes, engage in unwholesome talk, and cheat their fellow man. Can such a person really belong to the Lord? 1 John 3:10 makes it abundantly clear that they do not. It makes it abundantly clear that, rather, they belong to the devil. If we can see this situation plainly in others, let’s try to see our own position plainly and truthfully.

This is 1 John 3:10 in its entirety: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who is not practicing righteousness is not a child of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother.”

Most of us know love is a must –that we must love the Lord fervently and love others as ourselves. But what about having a life that is filled with “doing what is right”? God’s Word tells us that this is both a proof and a requirement in our salvation status. Yet the church is ignoring this. They are denying that it is so. They are teaching that Christ-followers can do wrong / be sinful / have a life characterized by unrighteous behavior, and still be seen as righteous in God’s opinion. What deception.

1 John 3:8 says, “Anyone practicing sin is of the devil.” Verse 6a says, “Anyone abiding in Him [Christ] does not sin.” The rest of the verse says it even more strongly: “Anyone sinning has not seen Him nor has he known Him.” (v. 6b) Chapter 5, verse 18 says, “We know that everyone having been born of God does not continue to sin.” Chapter 2, verse 4 says, “The person saying, ‘I have known Him,’ yet is not keeping His commandments, is a liar and the Truth is not in him.”

Let’s go over to the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 24. Jesus says, “Anyone not loving Me does not obey My teaching.” This means, then, that anyone who is not obeying Christ’s teaching does not love Him. Does anyone not loving Jesus make it to Heaven? Most Christians would say, “No”, as certainly would I, and we can confirm this in the Word, such as when Jesus teaches in this passage that it is the person who obeys Him within whom the Spirit sets up residence. (v. 21-23) And of course, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ indwelling him or her, that person does not belong to Christ.” (See Rom. 8:9)

While we’re at Rom. 8:9 let’s note that it also confirms that if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, then we will not be controlled by the flesh (sinful nature / fallen natural nature) but will instead be controlled by the Spirit. Indeed, we have died to the old self and have a new nature and a new Boss. (Rom. ch. 6) If we resist following Him… if we ignore His orders… how can we claim to belong to Him? If we defy our employer’s instructions, would we last long in the company? If we disregard civil laws, would we not soon end up in jail? Heb. 10:29 warns, “How much worse a punishment do you think that person deserves who has trampled upon the Son of God, and who has esteemed as ordinary the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” How can we claim to follow Christ if we are being daily controlled by the fallen natural nature?

So where do we draw the line? How much unrighteous behavior severs us from Eternal Life? None? –if we claim to have trusted Jesus for salvation? What about a person who claims to belong to Christ yet who keeps falling into the sin of child molesting? Is that person saved because he has trusted in “Christ’s imputed righteousness” for himself? What about a “Christian” who views pornography? Is he really “a new creation”? (2 Cor. 5:17) Do such “Christians” truly possess the Holy Spirit who gives us “all the power we need to live godly”? (See 2 Pe. 1:3,4) Has the old self really died? Has such a person truly been washed clean? And if so, are they walking in that cleansing, or are they going back to the filth? The latter would describe such a person and 2 Pe. 2:20-22 explains, clearly, such a person’s fate.

Now let’s ask, if someone keeps doing the most vile of deeds, even while claiming to be saved, is that person saved? I think most everyone would have to say, “No, that person is deceiving himself.” Okay. So what about “lighter” sins? What about if someone is being immoral in any way? What about if someone has a habit of drugs, theft, rage, greed, laziness, slander, or lying?

Friends, the true standard is not our opinion. The standard is God’s standard and He has revealed what that is in His Word. This can be seen in Gal. 5:19-21 where we are told that “those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God” and it lists impurity, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, drunkenness, etc. “Those who live like this…” –That’s about behavior. Another example is in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 where a similar list is given. Verse 9 there warns us to not be deceived about the fact that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And lest anyone says, “Well, ‘the wicked’ are those who have not had Christ’s righteousness imputed to them”, verses 9 and 10 list those characters who behave in particular manners. Wicked and righteous are labels the Bible gives to describe people as a result of the way those people conduct themselves. (See Mt. 13:41-43 & ch. 25 and John 5:29 and Ja. 2:14-26 just for starters.)

Some other lists of behaviors and character traits that will disable people from salvation can be seen in Eph. 4:31-5:7 which include bitterness, slander, and greed, and in Col. 3:5-10 which include lust, anger, malice and fowl talk, and in Rev. 21:8 which include the cowardly and all liars.

Col. 1:21 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because…” Why? –Because you had not yet put your trust in Christ and been imputed forever with His righteousness? No. It says, “…because of your evil behavior.” It is sin that separates us from God and if we go back to wallowing in it, we have forfeited the grace of God that has allowed for us, and been available to empower us, to walk pleasing to Him. (Jonah 2:8,9 // Rom. 2:1-16 // 2 Cor. 6:1,2,14-18 // Titus 2:11-14 // Heb. 6:8 & 10:26-31)

So, is our life one of sinful-acting or righteous-acting? Are we wicked or are we righteous? All individuals, including those who claim to be saved, are given a label by God based on whether or not we are making a daily practice of doing what is right. (Luke 9:23-25) If we are not, we are sinning (Ja. 4:17), we do not belong to God (1 John 3:10), and we are, instead, of the devil. (v. 8 )

Let us, therefore, “repent and turn to God, doing works consistent with repentance.” (Acts 26:20)

with love,

Witnessing downtown today was really great. I had a lot of lively conversations, including with atheists, with others who think that what they believe actually creates their eternal reality, and then also with those who believe God’s Word and want to walk closer to Jesus. I was glad that the Lord led me to go on from the train station to the restaurant area because there was a booth festival up there and thus loads of people. Truly, it is a high honor to spread the Good News in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit and I appreciate all the prayer backing from my mom and from other prayer partners, for it definitely helps make my efforts all the more successful.

My signs I used today were: “Jesus is the only true Savior. John 14:6”. And: “Look at Jesus, not at the wind and the waves.” And: “God says to sin’s captives, ‘Be freed!'” And: “Christ’s cross doesn’t cover a continuation in sin. Heb. 10:26”. And: “The Judge (Jesus) is at the door. Ja. 5:9”. And: “Lips that praise God but hearts far from Him..? Mark 7:6”.

Last week while witnessing downtown, I talked with two other evangelists that I once in a while see down there and one of them took a picture of me displaying another one of my signs (see below) and sent it to me. (The week before, they had given a Bible to the young man who is next to me in the picture and he was talking with them again, excited about his new walk with Christ. Please pray for him.)

So what about the message on my sign in this photo? Is it correct? I get a lot of reactions from this sign –both affirmations and rebukes– but I’m guessing that many church-goers would say it is not correct theology. Let’s look, though, at Scripture and let’s begin with the three verses I have referenced underneath the statement, “Holy conduct is necessary for salvation.”

The first is 1 Pe. 1:15 and it says, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” This is a command, not a suggestion, and it says, “Be holy in all your conduct.” We are being commanded to be holy. –By way of a claim? No, but by way of our behavior. Do we have to obey this command? Yes, we do –if we want to inherit Eternal Life. As Jesus said, “If you want to enter into Life, keep the commandments.” (Mt. 19:17) He also said, “If anyone keeps My Word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51) And what if we don’t keep (adhere to / heed / follow / submit to / obey) His Word? Then we will experience death. Eternal Death. Hell. It’s that simple.

So the command is that we be holy in all our conduct, and this required holiness is being equated with God’s holiness. In other words, not a little bit holy, but fully holy. And it is about conduct. Jesus taught the same when He said, “You therefore must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48) –And when He said, “You are My friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:14) This “doing” is not an “imputed righteousness” but it is a producing of fruit done in the will of the Father. (v. 16 // Mt. 7:21) Jesus warned that those in Him who do not continue to produce His fruit will be cut off (John 15:2) and thrown to the fire. (v. 6)

The second verse I referenced on my sign is John 5:29 where Jesus said, “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” Can committing sin be “doing good”? Of course not. And let’s remember that neglecting to do good is sin in itself (Ja. 4:17), that it is a path to being vomited out of God’s mouth (Rev. 3:15,16), and that it is damnable. (Mt. 25:41-46)

The third verse I referenced on my sign is Heb. 12:14: “Pursue peace with all, and holiness, which without, no one will see the Lord.” Can anyone deny that this verse is commanding us to pursue holiness because if we do not attain it, we will not see the Lord? Can anyone deny that this verse teaches that holiness must be pursued? Again, it is not a suggestion, but a command and a warning. We should take note that the following verses (v. 15-17) about missing the grace of God, defilement, and missing our chance, teach that holiness is not a claim but instead an existence of clean conduct and that we can indeed sell our inheritance for a bowl of sin.

We have been told that obedience to God and His commands is a requirement in serving God. (John 8:31 & 12:26) So we can’t serve the Lord (or love Him or honor Him or be unified with Him or belong to Him) if we don’t obey Him / His Spirit and His teaching. (Rom. 6:16,17 & 8:4,9,14) Obedience to God is what makes us holy. It is not about a claim. It is about conduct. As 1 John 2:3,4 tell us, if we do not obey Christ’s commands, then we are not in the Truth and do not know Christ.

Holiness is about what we do. A claim to love Jesus and His teaching is not sufficient. The claim must be backed up by righteous behavior (John 14:15-24 // Titus 1:16 & 2:11-14 // 1 John 2:29) and a doing of what the Master is instructing. (Mt. 12:42-46) Any other teaching is a deception. (Ja. 1:22 // see also Luke 12:15-21 and 1 Thes. 4:1-8 and Titus 2:1 and Heb. 2:1-3 & 10:26-31) As Gal. 6:7,8 say, what we sow, we do reap, eternally.

I give plenty of Scripture to back up what I teach and I encourage people to look up the verses I don’t take time to quote. But here are ten more that reveal that holy conduct is necessary for remaining on the path of Salvation so that one actually arrives at the Final Destination / Eternal Life / Heaven / Eternity with God:

1. 2 Tim. 2:19: “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” This means we must turn from wicked (sinful) conduct to holy (righteous / obedient-to-Christ / walking in the will of God) conduct.

2. Eph. 5:3-6: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or crude joking… For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person –such is an idolator– has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”

3. 1 Cor. 6:9-11: “Do you not know that the wicked [the unrighteous / wrongdoers] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor… drunkards nor verbal abusers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed…” The contrast of being washed clean or remaining unclean is dependent upon behavior, not a claim, and we are being warned that being deceived about this fact is indeed a danger.

4. Gal. 5:19-21: “The acts of the sinful nature are…hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition… I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this [behave like this] will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

5. 1 Pe. 4:17: “…what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the Gospel of God?”

6. Heb. 5:9: “He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”

7. 2 Thes. 1:8,9: “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction…” And as 1 John 2:3-6 reminds us, knowing the Lord happens only by obeying His commands and living like Jesus.

8. Rom. 2:6-11: “God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life…” This passage goes on to say that those who are self-seeking, reject the Truth, and follow evil, have God’s wrath awaiting them, and that God does not show favoritism. Again, this passage is about conduct.

9. Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation… teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for… Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.”

10. Rev. 22:11,12: “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” These verses are contrasting those who behave holy or unholy, and verses 14 and 15 do so also. Verses 18 and 19 show that actions define eternal destiny, as does 21:7,8, & 27.

There are many more Scripture verses that teach that holy conduct is necessary for inheriting eternal life. But hopefully this has been enough to convince the skeptics.

To read another post I wrote on this subject, click here:

with love,